Thursday, 4 April 2013

Nokia Lumia 820 review

Here I am with a new phone review, this time the Nokia Lumia 820. I would like to thank to Nokia Conversations for allowing me to test the phone for two weeks. Please continue reading to hear my experience



Hardware

If Nokia is good at something, that is hardware. They have been doing amazing phones through the years and they still do. I really like the Lumia 820 built. Hardware feels very compact even it is made of plastic. Screen is great. The screen is big enough to allow you to type easily with the keyboard, and still not too big that it would be difficult for one hand operation. Side buttons are conveniently located with a dedicated camera button that you can keep pressing to start the camera immediately.

I also like the shape of the phone. The front size reminds me to a TV somehow. I find it so cute. Also, the exchangeable cover and battery it can be an advantage if you want to have a spare battery with you.




Operating system

Lumia 820 runs Windows Phone 8. It is not such a big change from end user point of view. Some parts have been improved, like multi tasking, the Tile interface or the lock screen.

I really like the tile interface. I think it is the best part of the operating system. Being able to resize them in WP8 it is an advantage and you can personalise your phone easily. For instance, Spotify tile shows what is playing now, the Nokia Reading tile shows the cover of the book I am reading, etc. From the app menu nothing has changed from WP7.

Also, apps can use now the lock screen to display personal information. Not only built in apps but other apps like Facebook or Twitter can show latest status, album pictures, etc. Also, a notification area can be configured to display different counters for email, facebook notifications, etc.

    


Apps

Maybe one of the best improvements after WP8 has been the third party software. New apps using the new functionality. Another big plus are all the Nokia apps. They help to feel the gap that WP8 leaves from built in app point of view.

Built in apps have not changed much from last WP7. I find them working pretty well but I had some issues with the calendar app not syncing Facebook calendar properly and the Mail app not syncing changes immediately but only after next sync period.


Office suite is great. You can edit and create documents and share them through SkyDrive. You can open directly office attachments from the Mail. However, for some reason the SkyDrive stand alone app is not built in but needs to be downloaded separately.




But let's have a look at the Nokia apps. You can see here some of the offer. Most of them do not come preinstalled but you can easily download them from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The HERE apps are all related with location services, from maps, to city lens and driving instructions. GPS works very well and fast.



Other Nokia apps include Nokia Music, Nokia Reading, etc. I found Nokia Reading really nice to read epub books. You can see the book app sample on the right screenshot. It is a good addition to the WP8 software as it does not provide any book reader app by default.


And now the third party apps. The new Twitter app is much improved and it is integrated with the lock screen. However Facebook app feels slow and not so good. I really felt it was not so usable. Spotify app worked fine with my premium subscription.


My main complain on third party apps comes because the lack of some big services. For instance, being  Lumia phones so media and photo centric, there is no Instagram official app. Instagram is not just about modifying pics, but it is a social network as well. I belong to IGersHelsinki group and not having Instagram on Lumia phones is a big no for me. Also, other services like Pinterest do not have official app but just some paid alternatives.


Conclusion

I really enjoyed the two weeks with the Lumia phone, and I would recommend it to anyone before buying any Android phone. WP8 user interface is very consistent within the apps and the phone is very stable. However, there is need of more big services to release official apps for the platform. At this point, I cannot really do the change from my iPhone 5 to a Lumia.

But with the new range of Lumia phones that start from the 520 up to the 920, I think it is a great choice for many people with a big range of prices for all kind of users. And the number of apps is growing day by day specially after the success of the new Lumia 920 in the market. In Finland it was sold out for several weeks.

The choice is yours :)

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